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The Rundown v5.22.23 – Lakers, Celtics Not Sticking to the Script?

It seems A.I. has infiltrated the NBA and its communications department.

Or so it appears.

I’m not talking about Allen Iverson. Nor am I inferring that recently-retired Andre Iguodala is doing anything nefarious.

I’m speaking of artificial intelligence – the thing everyone fears because they don’t understand.

There have been recent documents released all over social media trying to run a conspiracy that the NBA is rigging playoff games for ratings – especially when it comes to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers being so close to the NBA Finals for both teams and each team having 17 championship banners apiece.

Who will get No. 18?


Neither – because THE NBA IS NOT RIGGED.

Anyone watching can see that both the Lakers and Celtics are on the verge of being swept in their respective series (though I am pulling for the Lakers to get one tonight).

The latest document in question had the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic scoring a 40 point triple double in Game 3. The Nuggets won that game, yes, but Jokic struggled mightily in the first half – which no one could have predicted.

Jokic shot nine-of-19 overall and only scored 24 points, and wasn’t even close to a triple double. 

Now if they said he’d shoot 40 percent from downtown, then and only then would they have been correct. Jamal Murray has been the hot hand, scoring 31 in Game One, and 37 in both Game Two and Game Three, so Jokic isn’t even leading the Nuggets in scoring. Try versatility.

That’s how you know the game is real and unpredictable.

They also said Jimmy Butler would score 36 points in Game One of the Miami Heat’s conference finals series with the Boston Celtics.

Butler blew that script by nine-of-10 at the free throw line in Game One and only getting 35 points in the first of Miami’s three wins. He was punished by 27 in Game Two and made to watch Gabe Vincent drop 29 to lead the Heat in Game Three. And Duncan Robinson hitting for 22 off the bench. Butler had 16 last night.

Prospect of an elimination, closeout sweep at home tomorrow night – what a punishment for a Play-In No. 8 seed.

That’s how you know the game is real and unpredictable.

Same document has the Lakers defeating the Nuggets in Game Six. Still a slight possibility that one may end up coming true, assuming they get there. Lakers could be closed out tonight, though I don’t see them allowing Laker pride to fold that quickly and easily.

Lakers and Celtics are going to have one hell of a time going seven games in the NBA Finals when they are both 0-3 at this point.

Sensible thinking shows us that that’s how you know the game is real and unpredictable.

So there’ll likely be no LeBron James scoring 53 points in Game Seven on June 18, 2023.

Pulling in a 53” marlin, maybe.

And it’s hard to be the NBA Finals MVP when you’re not there – and I don’t think James has it in him to steal the award and run away like Shooter McGavin.

Queue up Jamal Murray, with an outside chance of Jimmy Butler on that hardware.

That’s how you know the game is real and unpredictable.

Yes, there have been referees with personal dislikes.

There were always stories about Joey Crawford and Tim Duncan, Dick Bavetta and Clyde Drexler, Scott Foster and Chris Paul. 

There was big drama online about Foster officiating the last Nuggets-Lakers game beforehand. Then LeBron James collided with Foster on a fast break attempt down the court. James inadvertently bloodied Foster’s lip.

Great thing about Scott Foster? He didn’t flop. Never even considered it. Even if he was the only one in the building who didn’t flop.

No one in Las Vegas had a line on Scott Foster nearly eating his whistle in Game Three – and Vegas has a line on seemingly everything.

That’s how you know the game is real and unpredictable.

You can write or propose all the scripts and conspiracy theories you want to, but you can’t control who scores how many on any given night.

Tim Donaghy couldn’t even do that.

Take most of this crap with a grain of salt. 

Someone’s out there trying to make their mark with this information, not realizing true NBA fans have common sense.

Like me with this article – I really didn’t even have to write it … but you read it anyway, and I thank you.


Like tonight’s game. Enjoy it.

If you believe that nonsense, I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska to offer you.

Watch. Get excited. Cheer. Yell. Throw stuff (but don’t damage that 70” like Dallas Cowboys fans do). 

You may see history unfold before your very own eyes – but because it happened, not because it was scripted.

LeBron James and the Lakers may end up being the first team to come back from a three game deficit, win four games and get to the NBA Finals.

Boston would have to do the same thing to stick to the script and deliver bombastic ratings for ESPN, TNT, and the NBA.

But in the real world, it’s just something to fantasize about while we wait for the Denver Nuggets to beat the Miami Heat in six games (4-2) to win their first NBA Championship.

That, you can book.


Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show,, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. 

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia 

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